The SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks claimed their largest victory of the 2018 Sal's National Basketball League with a thumping 118-78 win over the Taranaki Mountainairs in New Plymouth tonight.
A close first half saw the Sharks lead for the majority of the first twenty minutes, although never by more than five. A two-point Southland lead quickly blew out with the Sharks offense erupting in the third quarter and they ran away with the game, outscoring the Airs in the second half by 69-31 to register win number 13.
Point guard Jarrad Weeks led the third quarter blitz with 11 points, finishing with a game high 25 to go with 3 assists, ably assisted by Orlando Coleman (23 points/12 rebounds), Conor Morgan (18 points/3 rebounds/4 assists), Tom Vodanovich 16 points/7 rebounds/4 assists) and James Hunter (12 points/4 rebounds).
The Sharks dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Airs 60-22, including 20 offensive boards. Alex Pledger was his usual dominant self with 14 total rebounds.
The Sharks return home to face their semifinal opponent, the Nelson Giants in Invercargill on Sunday from 3pm.
Regardless of Sunday's result, the two sides will again meet in the second semifinal next Saturday from 7pm in Wellington, while the Saints and Hawks, who defeated the Canterbury Rams 85-76 in tonight's other NBL game, will square off in the first semifinal at 5pm.